I was very sorry to hear this week of the death of Professor Toshiya Unebe (Nagoya University), who passed away on 15th November at the very young age of 48. He had been suffering from a brain tumour.
I first met Unebe-san at a conference in Bangkok in 2010, where we quickly discovered a mutual enthusiasm for a particular illustrated manuscript held in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The trip to Thailand also involved some very enjoyable tours around temples in the area admiring the mural art. After this initial meeting, he and I teamed up with Oxford-based Sarah Shaw to study the unique and beautiful manuscript that had first sparked our conversation. The result was our book Illuminating the Life of the Buddha.
Our correspondence continued during the publication of papers from the Bangkok conference and from a Jātaka panel at IABS congress 2011, as well as during the long process of creating and editing the manuscript book.
Unebe was such a pleasure to work with. He was utterly meticulous in his research, yet warm and light-hearted in conversations about it. His visit to Oxford was a great opportunity to get to know him better. My husband and I took him out to Stratford one weekend, where we spoke little of Shakespeare but did sing along to a band playing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins. He knew all the words, and somehow I was not surprised.
Rest in peace, Unebe-san. It was a privilege to work with you.